Road-based Tour CUA



This CUA authorizes road-based tours and non-instructional photography tours for group sizes of 1 – 25 participants. CUA holders may use vehicles manufactured to carry up to 26 passengers or less under this CUA. In-park shuttle service and step-on guide service are also authorized under this CUA and there is no maximum group size for step-on guiding services. Please see definitions of each activity listed below.

General Provisions

CUA holders are authorized to operate on paved park roads with visits to facilities, services, walks on trails less than a ½ mile from trailheads or roadways, and on boardwalks and developed areas, including:

  • Old Faithful Geyser Basin
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (North and South Rims including overlooks)
  • Biscuit Basin
  • Black Sand Basin
  • Norris Geyser Basin
  • Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces
  • West Thumb Geyser Basin
  • Fountain Paint Pots
  • Firehole Lake Drive – limited to vehicles weighing less than 6 tons GVW*
  • Firehole Canyon Drive – up to passenger vans only*
  • Midway Geyser Basin
  • Mud Volcano
  • Blacktail Plateau Drive – up to passenger vans only*
  • Old Gardiner Road – up to passenger vans only*
  • Old Yellowstone Trail*
  • Virginia Cascades – up to passenger vans only*
  • Lake Butte Overlook – up to passenger vans only*
* dependent on road conditions and seasonal closures

  1. Road-Based Tours is defined as a road-based vehicle tour where the main purpose is transporting clients throughout the park with stops at facilities, services, boardwalks, and developed areas. Stops for non-instructional painting or photography opportunities is authorized under this CUA. Group sizes over 25 people and/or vehicles with a manufactured capacity of 26 passengers or more do not fall under this CUA and must pay the commercial tour fee at the entrance station. For more information on the commercial tour fee program, please visit the Fees & Passes website.
  2. Step-on Guide Service is defined as a guide who rides in a visitor’s vehicle/tour bus and performs guide services for sightseeing tours within the park. It is the CUA holder’s responsibility to check the clients’ proof of auto liability insurance before the trip to ensure coverage meets the minimum required under Yellowstone’s CUA program. There is no maximum group size for step-on guide service.
  3. Shuttle Service is defined as point-to-point pick-up and drop-off of passengers within Yellowstone National Park at designated parking areas, pullouts, and developed areas.
    1. Guides must obtain prior approval from a concessioner to meet clients on their land assignment.
    2. Those establishing a set shuttle schedule must submit their schedule to the Business and Commercial Services Office for review and approval prior to implementation.
  4. There is no limitation on the number of groups a CUA holder can bring into the park per day as long as group sizes are adhered to. Separate groups may not congregate in one area at pullouts, on boardwalks, or on trails.
  5. Tours may occupy the parking lots or vehicle pull-outs in Hayden Valley and Lamar Valley for a maximum of 2 hours.
  6. Impeding traffic or causing unnecessary delays in traffic is prohibited. Slow moving vehicles must use roadside turnouts and parking areas to allow free flow of other traffic. Vehicles must not stop in the roadway to allow clients to take pictures or to load and unload passengers.
  7. Vehicles shall not be left idling in parking areas or park across multiple parking spaces. Loading zones must not be occupied longer than necessary to load and unload passengers.
  8. The CUA holder will provide all visitor services in a manner that is consistent with and supportive of the interpretive themes, goals, and objectives of the park.
  9. We recommend all guides providing road-based interpretive tours within the Yellowstone complete the following items:
    1. Attend one Resource Education Training given by Yellowstone National Park in the spring, watch a recording of the most recent Resource Education Training, or provide an outline of your Yellowstone specific training given to employees, and
    2. Complete and pass a test regarding Yellowstone National Park’s natural and cultural resources, as well as park regulations. All answers can be located in the Yellowstone National Park Resource and Issues Book located at: The test is available at: Yellowstone Environmental Education Guide Test


How to apply for this CUA activity

  1. Complete CUA application packets should be submitted via email to
  2. Complete application packets include the documents listed below (click on the blue links below to download each document):
  3. If your application is missing any components listed above, we will inform you via the email address or phone number listed on the application. Any incomplete applications will be placed on hold until all required documentation is received.
  4. Once your application packet has been reviewed and approved, we will send the CUA, NPS Form 10-115, via the email address listed on the application.
  5. The CUA holder will then sign and return the CUA form(s) to The CUA is not final until the signed form(s) are received by our office.
  6. Submit a guide card request for any guides/employees that will be entering the park under this CUA at least two weeks prior to their first trip in the park.
  7. Complete and submit Annual Report Forms—Due by January 31st following the operating year.

Road-based Commercial Tour CUA for Group Sizes of 26 or More

The implementation of standardized Road-based Commercial Tour CUAs is DELAYED until further notice. Road-based Commercial Tour companies may continue to enter the park by paying the commercial tour fee at the entrance station. If you are a Road-based Commercial Tour operator and would like to receive communication from the park regarding operational changes, then please email us at with your business name, contact name, address, phone number, and email address.


Last updated: November 9, 2022

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PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park , WY 82190-0168



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